Proposed Mine Threatens Bristol Bay, Alaska’s Wild Salmon and Trout
Ask the EPA to protect Alaska’s sport fisheries from toxic waste.
Alaska's Bristol Bay is home to the world's largest sockeye salmon runs and supports important recreational fisheries, including rainbow trout, grayling, Dolly Varden Arctic char and large numbers of king, coho and chum salmon. It's also supports a way of life and provides food and income for thousands of Alaska's citizens and visitors.
In the past decade deposits of copper, gold and molybdenum have been discovered at Bristol Bay's headwaters, setting off a flurry of claim-staking. The largest of these proposals, Pebble Mine, could become a 20-square mile mining compound with a pit thousands of feet deep and several miles wide, making it 30 times larger than the current largest mine in Alaska. The Pebble Mine poses a clear and present danger to the region's phenomenal sport fisheries and a great tradition that has been passed down for generations.
If allowed to open, the Pebble Mine could produce up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste over its lifetime, which will need to be contained in perpetuity because of the impact of its acidic byproducts. This waste will supposedly be stored in a in a ten square-mile containment pond and held back from the freshwater habitat of the Bay by the world's largest earthen dam. This area is known for frequent earthquakes, putting the watershed at great risk for a toxic spill, which would cause severe and possibly irreparable damage to the fishery and the Bay.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act to veto a location for the disposal of dredged or fill material, even before a permit is submitted, if the waste run-off will have unacceptable adverse effects on water purity, fish, wildlife and recreational areas – as expected for Pebble Mine. EPA has been asked to take this action by a local coalition of tribal governments, commercial fishermen and hunters and anglers. Sportsmen and women can help protect this region and our legacy by sending a message to the EPA today and a copy to your Members of Congress. Urge the EPA and your Members of Congress to exercise their authority to protect Alaska's sport fisheries and the people that depend on Bristol Bay for their livelihoods.
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